Wednesday, January 29

2030 vision to bridge devt gap

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Azmin: Economic hotspots to elevate Sarawak and Sabah under Shared Prosperity Vision

Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali – Bernama file photo

KUALA LUMPUR: The Pakatan Harapan (PH) government will identify economic hotspots in Sarawak and Sabah under its Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 (WKB) to reduce the development gap between the two states and the peninsula, the Dewan Rakyat was told yesterday.

Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said by identifying the hotspots, the government would ensure that economic development did not focus only on certain regions but was distributed to the two states according to their strengths and uniqueness.

“WKB aims to raise the GDP (gross domestic product) contribution of the states to Malaysia from the current contribution of 6.2 per cent for Sabah and 9.7 per cent for Sarawak, compared to 40 per cent by the central region of the peninsula,” he said in a reply to Vivian Wong (PH-Sandakan)

Azmin said that while the Federal government had identified sectors that should be given focus in Sarawak and Sabah for the development of the economic hotspots, it would still take into account the views of the state governments as they had better knowledge of the potential in their states.

For Sarawak, he said the proposed sectors were eco-tourism, renewable energy, high-tech agriculture and husbandry, commodity economy and downstream products.

And for Sabah, the focus would be on island tourism, border economy through various sub-regional collaborations, downstream petroleum refinery, commodity economy and downstream products, as well as fisheries and aquaculture.

Touching on human capital, Azmin said WKB would also elevate the rights of Bumiputeras in  Sabah and Sarawak by taking into consideration matters that have been set out in the Malaysia Agreement 1963.

In addition, he said the government would give priority to improving basic infrastructure and improve the quality of health and education for the rural folk in the two states.

“This would raise the average monthly household income from RM5,354 in Sabah and RM5,387 in Sarawak, compared with RM9,463 in Selangor. The government is confident that the WKB would ensure no household income group is left behind by 2030 and every citizen enjoys the country’s prosperity,” said Azmin.

Wong, in a supplementary question, asked if the government had identified any new sectors in Sarawak and Sabah for development as some of those Azmin had mentioned were not new.

The minister replied: “The federal government has engaged with the state governments to identify industries and new sectors that could be developed, with some of them possibly included in the 12th Malaysia Plan as WKB is a long term plan.”

Earlier, Azmin told the Dewan Rakyat that the three objectives of WKB, which was launched last week by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, was to restructure the economy, fight inequality and develop the country.

He said that WKB took into account other preceding policies, including Vision 2020 which was also Dr Mahathir’s brainchild, in reducing the development gap in the country.

“The gap is widening and if left unaddressed will result in tension and uncertainty in society which will affect the country’s economic growth and national unity aspiration.

“WKB will take holistic steps specifically to reduce the development gap between Sabah and Sarawak and the peninsula,” he said.

During the Malaysia Day celebration in Kuching on September 16 this year, Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg had said he welcomes the WKB policy.

He said that despite the federal and state governments being under two different political platforms, it would not deter the two from working together.